|President of Aram|
1 March 1954 – 1 March 1959
|Prime Minister of Aram|
25 March 1943 – 25 February 1954
|Member of the Motwa|
17 August 1943 – 25 February 1954
Étienne Charles Leclerc
1 November 1887
|Died||22 January 1969 (aged 81)|
|Political party||People's Party|
|Spouse(s)||Lise Moulin (1905–1909; her death)|
|Allegiance||Third French Republic|
|Years of service||1914–1918|
|Awards||Commemorative war medal|
Inter-Allied Victory medal
Syria-Cilicia commemorative medal
Order of the Star of Bethlehem
Order of Merit
Charles Leclerc (/ˈʃaʁl ləklɛʁ/ born Étienne Charles Leclerc; 1 November 1887 – 22 January 1969) was a Franco-Aramaean politician and statesman who served as the first Prime Minister of Aram from 1943 until 1954 and later as President of Aram from 1954 to 1959, having led the country to independence from France in 1945.
Leclerc was a decorated officer of the First World War having enlisted in 1914. After being severely wounded in 1917, spending the rest of the war recuperating in a German prisoner of war camp. In 1918, he joined the French Civil Service before transferring to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 1925 he served as an advisor to the High Commissioner for Mandatory Aram. During this time, especially after his exposure and integration with locals, Leclerc began calling and campaigning for a Christian state in the Middle East, centred on Aram. His unique position within both the French and local devolved governments afforded him significant levels of influence and local support. After receiving a mediocre reception to the idea in France, Leclerc eventually sought and won the support of the British and American governments for the establishment of Aram as a Christian state.
During the Second World War, France reneged on its commitment to the independence of its League of Nations mandates in the Middle East, as all energy focused on the war effort. However, throughout this time, Leclerc maintained the drive for an independent Aramaean state. In 1943, under the instruction of Charles de Gaulle, the leader of the Free French Forces, Leclerc was appointed caretaker prime minister to oversee elections to the local parliament. Despite his appointment being temporary, his supporters in the parliament re-elected him prime minister, energising him to pursue independence. While serving as prime minister, Leclerc controversially committed Aramaean troops to the French war efforts in the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa; gambling such would win him favour with the French if they proved victorious.
Finally, in 1945, with the conclusion of the war, Aram under Leclerc's leadership became a founding member of the United Nations on 24 October 1945; officially making it independent of France. Despite this, French forces continued to occupy the country for another 6 months until being expelled on Leclerc's orders on 12 April 1946. He continued to serve as prime minister playing a pivotal role in establishing the foundations of the modern Aramaean republic and ensuring political and economic stability for the nation in its infancy. Leclerc resigned as prime minister in 1954, almost 11 years after being appointed in his capacity as a caretaker administrator. He was elected president in 1954, despite intending to retire, and served a single term. He finally fully retired from politics in March 1959. He died almost a decade later in 1969 at his lakeside estate in Roma. His state funeral in Darmsuq was attended by an estimated quarter of a million mourners.
Within Aram, Leclerc is viewed very favourably for his role in the birth of the nation. However, arguably his greatest legacy was the post-independence political and economic consensus regarding the governance of Aram that was subscribed to by all major parties and governments for the three decades, fixing the arena of political discourse until the late-1970s. In 2010, he was voted the most successful Aramaean Prime Minister by a poll of 154 academics.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Military service: 1914–1918
- 3 French Diplomat: 1922–1943
- 4 Independence leadership and Herutha: 1932–1943
- 5 Prime Minister of Aram: 1943–1954
- 6 President of Aram: 1954–1959
- 7 Later life: 1959–1969
Childhood and education
Étienne Charles Leclerc was born on 1 November 1887 in the northern French village of Vic-sur-Aisne, approximately 100 kilometres northeast of Paris. He was the second son and youngest child of Alexandre Dieudonné Leclerc (1841–1910) and Marguerite Haie (1853–1925), having two older siblings: Alexandre (1883–1952) and Anne-Marie (1885–1974). His father worked in the ports of Le Havre until an injury in 1881 left him partially disabled. His mother worked as a nurse and later trained to be a clinician, a rare occupation for a woman at the time.